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Michele Somerville
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Poet and teacher Michele Madigan Somerville is the author of Black Irish (2009) and WISEGAL (2001). Her essays have appeared in The New York Times and Harvard Divinity School Bulletin.

Entries by Michele Somerville

The Pope vs. Trump: Let The One Who Is Without Walls Throw The First Stone

(1) Comments | Posted February 24, 2016 | 3:18 PM

We heard lots about the two walls recently: the wall of Trump's dreams, which would protect the United States from illegal immigrants, and the wall that contains and protects the sovereign nation that is Vatican City.

Pope Francis finds Trump's wall-erecting aspirations disappointing. I agree with the...

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Little Lord Trump (Le Roi) and His MVP, Jesus

(3) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 2:11 PM

Jerry Fallwell, Jr. endorsed Donald Trump Wednesday. Anyone who watched the video footage of Trump's speech at Liberty University last week saw this coming. What was harrowing about the Liberty speech was how it put Trump's lack of spiritual development on full display. Liberty is a...

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Pope Francis and the Rebranding of Catholicism

(9) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 1:25 PM

As a Catholic who observed closely the resignation of the emeritus pope and elevation of Jorge Bergoglio, in March of 2013, with hope and some suspicion, I find myself vexed by the profuse adulation Pope Francis I received during his visit to the United States. The pope is a world...

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It's All So Calculated: Kim Davis and The Pope

(35) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 3:08 PM

When my pastor announced that our New York parish was running a lottery for giving away the two tickets apportioned to our Roman Catholic parish, he disclaimed: Ticketholders would have to line up several hours before mass. Getting to a restroom might be a problem. One might have to take...

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Dear State of Oklahoma, Please Don't Murder Richard Glossip

(4) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 9:28 AM

So much has been written about Richard Glossip.

I write this because I cannot not write what I feel on this matter.

My feelings and convictions as they pertain from the death penalty come purely and directly from my religious feeling as a mother of Jews (informed...

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Remember the Future: Hachette and Amazon

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 9:58 AM

I ordered two shower caddies about a week ago. Shower caddies are objects in which girls carry shampoo and loofahs to scuzzy outdoor showers at camp. These can be difficult to obtain in New York in June as half of the city's kids head off to camp. As a mother...

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Pope Francis I, the Nun-Busters and Why Catholics Should Buy "Quest For the Living God"

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 12:02 PM

Last week, Prefect of the Confederation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) Gerhard Mueller, condemned the Leadership Conference Women Religious (LCWR) for honoring Catholic theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson and her book Quest of the Living God. The CDF argues that the book fails to be in accord with Roman...

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Is the Pope Christian? Fr. Roy Bourgeois Writes to the the Pope

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 4:50 PM

Today, excommunicated and defrocked Roman Catholic Maryknoll priest and peace activist Roy Bourgeois, published an open letter to Pope Francis I. In this letter, Father Bourgeois asks the pontiff him to look more closely into listen more fully to the hearts of LGBT Catholics and...

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Time for Autism Speaks to Zip It?

(3) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 8:14 AM

My son Jack, a young man with Asperger's, a "disorder" on the autism spectrum, was about 13 when Dr. Wang, a Chinese medicine practitioner he sees for treatment of anxiety and inattentiveness, asked me to -- as we, in our family, quoting author Mark Haddon, like to call it --...

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Across From Bloody Mary's Bar and Grill

(0) Comments | Posted January 1, 2014 | 2:48 PM

The final sun of the year
is broken upon the water,
an accident
no longer waiting

to happen, a bulb con-
solidated no longer, a shattered
whole comprised of the sum
of its several solar parts,

a reconstituted version of
its bright and...

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From Peals of Light (a Christmas Poem)

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 7:37 AM

"Peals of light" for the parishioners of St Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY and Dalienne Majors, especially:

For as long as we have feared
darkness and frigidity, spires
we erect have nosed upwards
we have stretched to reach to touch

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Pope Francis, Man of the Year? Not Yet

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 9:41 AM

Within the past week or two we have seen the pope make the covers of Time, The New Yorker and The Advocate. Time and The Advocate have designated Pope Francis as their publications' "person of the year." As a progressive Roman Catholic who is active in ministry, I find it...

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Caveat Emptor--Charter School Poster Kids and Private/Public Education

(5) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 11:05 AM

Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, closed her schools in New York, on Tuesday October 8th so as to allow students parents and teachers to join a demonstration to defend public school privatization. 20,000 showed up. That's quite a turnout. I did not take part in...

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Bored-o-ed: An Educator's Plan for Making NYC Public Schools Work, Part 2

(2) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 3:56 PM

I was teaching the novel Jane Eyre to honors sophomores about 28 years ago in one of New York City's top high schools when a student raised his hand: "Why are you a teacher? You seem smart enough to be a doctor or lawyer." He was being a smart-ass. But...

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Grant Me the Pope Francis Kool-Aid but Not Yet; Is the New Pope for Real?

(1) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 1:26 PM

Like many Catholics I am encouraged by Pope Francis's language on the matter of sin, war, greed, and the poor, especially encouraged by the the pontiff's willingness to admit that conservative Catholics fetishize (my word, not his) the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage to the possible exclusion of other...

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Bored-o-Ed: An Educator's Plan for Making the NYC Public Schools Work

(2) Comments | Posted September 23, 2013 | 2:10 PM

If I were Queen of the New York City schools -- or chancellor, even -- I would have a plan for fixing them.

1. Require all students to have Physical Education daily.

If I could change one thing alone, I would change this: Currently New York City Public...

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Theism, Deism, Atheism, Poetry and Divine Comedy: Not Black and White

(16) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 1:10 PM

I just read a story in The Guardian about a group of atheists who have decided to meet on Sundays, in the way church groups meet, in order to--I might hazard to say at the peril of over-simplifying--enjoy fellowship, and community, and to discuss, perhaps, ethics and morality....

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From Black Cloud, White Ash

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 3:04 PM

...Not here where I live
where just 20 minutes
before the first air-
craft hit, my-first
born waited
beneath at Station Stop World
Trade Center
for a connecting train
as watching the sky

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Popacabana: New Tone, Old Message

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 2:48 PM

Pope Francis gave an impromptu interview on the plane as he returned from from his celebrated Brasil tour, a trip so lively and successful it earned the name "Popacabana." Popacabana was well-covered by news agency and from the standpoint of the pontiff's handlers, very well spun.

Each time I read...

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Why Canonizing John Paul II Is a Mistake

(3) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 3:53 PM

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, many Roman Catholics were quick to optimism. Some dared to hope for something of a church renaissance, and for relief, perhaps, in the wake of the bitter reign of "God's Rottweiler," Joseph Ratzinger. Much was made of the Jesuit pope's decision to assume...

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